SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — What do the two phrases, “Planting Your Potential” and “Growing Legacies,” have in common?

While several may come to mind, it relates to the themes for the 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 Illinois State FFA Officer teams achieving their mission and the work of the Illinois Foundation FFA.

“Planting Your Potential” is the theme established by the 2013-2014 State FFA Officer Team. The team is composed of the 25 section presidents and five major state officers.

The “Growing Legacies” theme comes from the 2012-2013 officer team. Both describe ways that the FFA carries out its mission.

Through Illinois FFA, students develop skills and confidence to help them succeed in their agricultural careers and throughout their life. The FFA mission: FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Agriculture education and FFA members are planting their potential now for their future legacies in the agriculture and food industry.

The Illinois Foundation FFA is one of the oldest, continuously operating 501(c)3 nonprofit FFA Foundations in the U.S. The foundation has been growing its legacy of support for Illinois FFA for more than 65 years.

For nearly half of those years, Frank Dry provided the legacy of leadership to the Illinois Foundation FFA. Dry retired at the end of 2012, and Al Zwilling began work as executive director of the foundation in January 2013.

Illinois Foundation FFA funding directly supports the future of the Illinois Association FFA and its members through support to local chapters and its members for leadership conferences, leadership camp, Supervised Agriculture Experience grants, plaques and monetary awards for proficiency Awards, travel stipends and scholarships for students to pursue additional education.

In addition, it provides financial support to the State FFA Convention, state officers, career development events and State FFA Degrees.

Today, more than 29,200 Illinois students are enrolled in more than 320 quality agriculture education programs, preparing them for future careers in the agriculture, food, fiber, fuel and natural resource industry. A majority of these students — 17,640 of them — also have chosen to be a part of FFA, Illinois’ largest career and technical student organization.

Since the support of the Illinois Foundation FFA is a vital part of the equation that makes a significant difference in the lives in the experiences of all FFA members, the Illinois Foundation FFA is planting the potential for future growth.

This fall, the foundation is helping local volunteers and FFA chapters grow their potential with the 2013 Collection Drive.

New to the Collection Drive for 2013 is an electronic toolkit of resources that volunteers and FFA chapters can utilize in their fundraising. The toolkit provides background and ideas that chapters can use to achieve their fundraising goals.

A greater emphasis will be placed on connecting with former FFA members through social media and the use on an online donation site, www.illinoisffafoundation.org/donate/default.aspx .